Open letter to Barnet CCG

Dear Dr Frost, and members of Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG),

Re. NHS 111 and Out of Hours Services

We are writing to express our concern that CCGs in Camden, Islington, Haringey, Barnet and Enfield are about to embark on a tendering exercise for combined Out of Hours (OOH) and 111 Services across these five boroughs.

There has been insufficient publicity to ensure that members of the public are fully informed about the proposed change of service. Even some GP practices appear to be uninformed. Your website provides limited information about the proposal, including two engagement events held in February and March. The proposed formation of a Patient and Public Reference Group promises some further engagement but only via representatives who must pass a “selection process.” Who will select these representatives and by what criteria? Although your site promises a “series of engagement events”, we do not feel you have undertaken proper or thorough consultation about a huge plan that would impact heavily upon the people of Barnet. Nor have you provided sufficient evidence to justify the proposed changes which may include the following:

• The amalgamation of 111 with OOH
• The commissioning of OOH across all five boroughs
• The extension of the contract to five years

We commend collaboration between the various agencies, but it is not clear how this multi-agency collaboration is to be organised. Is one provider to be made responsible for joint working? Or is the contract to cover coordination and all services? How will GP partnerships be consulted and involved?

If the plan is for one provider organising all agencies or partners, we object on the grounds that the wide-ranging scale of such a contract and the considerable reserves required would make it difficult for local GP-led consortia to submit a successful bid. Moreover, private companies regularly make use of experts in winning contracts, many of whom make assurances of competence that cannot be maintained after winning the contract.

We actively oppose the privatisation of public services, and there is considerable public concern about this issue, particularly with regard to the NHS. Yet this plan for the five boroughs clearly risks ushering in large or multi-national companies and further privatising the NHS.

As this would be such a major change in the way OOH and 111 are delivered in the North Central London sector, we recommend that Barnet and the other Clinical Commissioning Groups consider all possible alternatives. If the proposal is not withdrawn, then a formal study, along with a thorough and transparent consultation with those affected by the change of service, should be conducted before any decision is made.


Save Barnet NHS
Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS)
Finchley and Golders Green 38 Degrees Local Group
Campaign Against Destruction of Disabled Support Services (CADDSS)

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